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Common Questions About Credit Repair

Posted on August 27, 2010

As you prepare to get your credit back on track, you undoubtedly have some questions about credit repair. Where should you start? What should you repair? Are those credit repair ads really true? Read on to get answers to some common questions about credit repair.

Is credit repair legal?

Yes, credit repair is legal. In fact, there are Federal laws that can help make sure you can improve your credit. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives you the right to an accurate credit report and lets you dispute inaccurate credit report information with the credit bureaus or the information furnisher. The Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) makes sure credit repair companies don’t take advantage of you. Certain tactics, like creating a separate identity using an employer id number (EIN), are illegal.

How can I check my credit?

There are two parts to your credit – your credit report and your credit score. You can check them both (for a fee) at any of these places:,,, or You can get a free copy of your credit report by visiting Be careful about signing up for free credit report or free credit score offers. These usually come with a trial subscription that must be cancelled to avoid future charges.

How long can negative information stay on my credit report?

Seven years for most types of negative information. This includes late payments, debt collections, and charge-offs. However, bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years.

Can I repair credit on my own?

Yes. In fact, there’s nothing credit repair companies can legally do that you can’t do on your own. You might choose to repair you own credit if you can’t afford to hire a credit repair company or if you can’t find a legitimate credit repair company you can trust.

How long does credit repair take?

It depends on the tactics you use and how often you use them. For example, if you’re sending credit report dispute letters, it could take a one or two months for the credit bureau to do an investigation and remove the entry from your credit report. If you’re sending letters in batches and spreading them over a few months, it will take longer. If you’re more aggressive with credit repair, the process typically goes faster.

How much does credit repair cost?

Again, it depends on the tactics you use. Hiring a credit repair company can cost several thousand dollars. Sending credit report dispute letters only costs a stamp, envelope, paper, and ink. Doing a “pay for delete” can cost a few hundred dollars or more depending on the amount of the debt you’re negotiating.

Will paying or closing accounts remove them from my credit report?

No. Negative information will remain on your credit report the duration of the credit reporting time limit (7 or 10 years) unless you negotiate with the company to have the account removed from your credit report. Negotiating deletion isn’t easy and could take a few tries to be successful. In many cases, it’s at least worth a try. You never know which company will accept your proposal.

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